Jeff Karrenbauer, president of Manassas, Va.-based INSIGHT, Inc., a provider of supply network optimization solutions, notes that while mergers and acquisitions present many challenges for a supply chain organization, they also present opportunity. "People are more willing to make changes when there is a huge amount of transformation going on anyway," he says, "and you can make those changes under the umbrella of combining the two systems." That might mean closing facilities that previously were viewed as sacred cows, or leaving a long-time incumbent supplier. In other words, embrace the change, take ownership of it and look for opportunities to undertake fundamental transformations in how you run your supply chain or supply management strategy that otherwise wouldn't be possible.
At the same time, Michael Hilbrich, vice president of marketing with supply chain solution provider i2 Technologies, reminds that of all the challenges presented by a merger or acquisition, perhaps the cultural issues can be most significant. If one company is focused on new product development and the ability to get product to market very quickly, and they're combining with a company that has a very strong cost focus and not a speed focus, that almost assuredly will result in a clash of cultures. "A company has to develop the appropriate sensitivities to each culture and, at the same time, develop an overarching corporate culture that brings the two organizations together," Hilbrich concludes.
For additional insights on the benefits and challenges of merging supply chains, read extended conversations with Robert Babel of Forte Industries, Michael Hilbrich of i2 Technologies, Jeff Karrenbauer of INSIGHT, Andrew Kinder of Infor, Marc Tanowitz of Pace Harmon, and Jay Welsh of Accenture at www.SDCExec.com/MandA.